Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Say Anything

After 53 days of silence, the Democratic Party of Tennessee finally has something to say!! They say happy holidays. Thanks for the update, guys.

Nothing about a freshman Senator from Tennessee destroying Congress’s efforts to bail out of the auto industry. Nothing about the state’s $1 billion budget shortfall. Nothing about the Republicans at the state capitol selecting state officers. Nothing about GM in Spring Hill. Nothing about Hemlock Semiconductors in Clarksville. Nothing about education funding, or the economy, or Gov. Bredesen, or anything. Nothing but happy holidays.

Oh, and the state party blog still only has one entry since the election.

Damn it, do something!!

PS: You can probably take that lame anti-McCain YouTube video off your homepage, too. Seven weeks after the election, it's kind of a little tacky.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cabinet of Superstars

The Democratic Dream Team continues to take shape with former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to be agriculture secretary and Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar to lead the Interior Department.

No Brainer

Time's Person of the Year? Barack Obama. Probably the easiest decision in the magazine's history. At least they didn't try to get all cute with it like 2006.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Moving On Up

Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) will get a seat on the all-powerful House Appropriations Committee in the next Congress. Will that peach assignment keep him in the House and out of the governor’s race in 2010? If Frist gets in (and he will), I bet Davis stays out.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) just got the news that the 2008 federal deficit will top $1 trillion dollars. His response? Be afraid. And vague. Emphasis on the vague part.

"This report should serve as a wakeup call to Congress and the country," says Cooper, who describes himself as a Blue Dog Democrat and deficit hawk in his latest press release.

"It should really scare people about the future of the economy. We must get our economy back on track in the short term, but we can only do it in a way that restores balance to our long-term budget process. I look forward to working with President-elect Obama to get a handle on our fiscal crisis. We can't afford to wait any longer."

Slow News Day

Governor Phil Bredesen today signed Executive Order #59 requiring use of efficient Energy Star-qualified equipment and appliances in all executive branch state agencies.

It's a good idea that's likely to pay for itself in the long run since energy-efficient equipment saves money on utility bills.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Funny Because It's True

Three great headlines at Fark.com:

  • Bush's handling of the shoe-toss incident is far and away his most measured, calm, and reasonable response to a crisis on record

  • Questions for the Secret Service: 1) Shouldn't you have jumped in front of that shoe? 2) Or at least the second shoe?

  • Reporter who threw shoes at Bush tossed in jail, begs for mercy on his soles

Sorry, No Photos Today

I don’t know if I’m angry or relieved there are no photos to go with this story.

Stood Up by Corker

It’s always interesting when Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam shows up in Nashville, and it’s interesting when Sen. Bob Corker fails to. Expect to see a lot more of Haslam; the guy’s desperate to run for statewide office.

Judge Not

Republican Ed Bryant, a former congressman and federal prosecutor, has been appointed as a federal magistrate judge in Jackson, says the Tennessean.

I’m not a Bryant fan. His two biggest cases (prosecuting Rep. Ford, Sr., and the impeachment of Pres. Clinton) were both political hatchet jobs and both failed miserably. It’s just interesting to know where he is in case he pops back up in politics some day, like if Sen. Alexander retires in 2014.

Damn Hippies at Dow Corning

According to Stephanie Burns, CEO of Dow Corning: “We’re… confident that solar technology represents a tremendous opportunity for both clean energy and economic growth.”

How confident are they? So confident that they’re investing up to $2.5 billion in a joint venture with Hemlock Semiconductors in Clarksville, Tennessee. Today’s announcement means 1,000 construction jobs in the short term and up to 800 high-paying jobs at the facility in the long run.

"This is a huge win for Tennessee. They're talking about a range of investment of between $1.2 billion to $2.5 billion over time. If they get to the upper end of that range, it will be the largest investment in our state's history," Gov. Phil Bredesen said.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Corker Tells a Lie

Fox Business reports:

The UAW concessions include allowing the domestic automakers to postpone their required health-care contributions from 2010 to 2012 and to eliminate the controversial jobs bank.

Sen. Bob Corker says:

The fact that they [the unions] were willing to make no concessions — zero — and let these companies fall into peril as they are now, to me, as I wake up today, it’s pretty surreal actually.

One of them is lying, and for once it’s not Fox.

One Billion Dollars!

Gosh, maybe President-elect Obama is right! Green technology just might be the key to economic strength! Looks like Hemlock Semiconductor is going to invest a billion dollars or more in developing solar technologies, right here in Tennessee.

Watch Your Language, Gov. Granholm

I expect this crap from Republicans, but from a Democratic governor it is extremely disappointing. Sen. Bob Corker and his crew are wrong; they are not un-American.

Merry Christmas from Sen. Bob Corker

After Senate Republicans killed the auto industry bailout, GM was forced to immediately announce the shutdown of 20 manufacturing plants for the month of January, temporarily laying off all those workers in time for Christmas.

No word yet how that will affect Spring Hill workers here in Tennessee. But I have a pretty good guess how it will affect the economy.

A quick reminder to the GOP: jobs = good, layoffs = bad.

Update: Fortunately, those temporarily laid-off workers will receive a partial salary in January. Unless Sen. Corker gets his way. Under Corker’s plan for the auto industry, they would get nothing. The federal government would step in and kill their partial salaries during temporary plant closures. Is that want you want your Senator fighting for?

I'd Like to Spank the Academy

Apparently the problem with the Oscars is that they’re too entertaining. But don’t worry, the Academy has a plan to fix that. They’ve offered Hugh Jackman the role of host this time around.

The monologue, the jokes, the fun… All gone.

I don’t blame Jackman. He’s not a stand-up comedian or even a comedic actor. Putting him in that position would be setting him up to fail. If he hosts, he’ll have to play it straight, relying on charm and gravitas.

How boring.

They’ve been cutting back the host’s time and creative freedom year and year for a while now, making the Oscars suck that much more every time. Jon Stewart had about five minutes of jokes last year, no skits, no parodies, no chance to make the evening fun. Ellen had the same problem the year before.

Hey, Hollywood – you’ve got to make the show enjoyable for people who aren’t as in love with you as you are! Otherwise, ratings will continue to collapse.

Jackman's not a done deal yet. He's been offered the job, but is negotiating his terms before accepting.

Better choices to host:

  • Bill Murray
  • Tina Fey
  • Ben Stiller
  • Jim Carrey
  • Seth Rogan
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Owen Wilson

Domestically Speaking, Anyway

Hey, three cheers* for Vice President Cheney. He summed up the Bush legacy perfectly in this Politico headline:

Cheney: It's 'Herbert Hoover' time

*Ask your doctor if sarcasm is right for you.

Sarcasm Is the Best Medicine

Turns out there’s a medical use for sarcasm. Hey, brilliant work, guys. You totally deserve a Nobel Prize for this.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Kidding

A two-year investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee turns up the obvious:

The physical and mental abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was the direct result of Bush administration detention policies and should not be dismissed as the work of bad guards or interrogators, according to a bipartisan Senate report released Thursday.

Kudos to Sen. John McCain for his strong role in the investigation:

"These policies are wrong and must never be repeated," he said in a statement.

Of course, President Bush and his crew continue to hide/break the law:

The report comes as the Bush administration continues to delay and in some cases bar members of Congress from gaining access to key legal documents and memos about the detainee program, including an August 2002 memo that evaluated whether specific interrogation techniques proposed to be used by the CIA would constitute torture.

More on Corker

Sen. Corker took a quick swipe at President Bush on the Senate floor today:

I know the White House is actually at a point where they're looking for the next flight out of town on January 20th

Corker was also kind enough to agree with me (and disagree with Ronald Reagan) in his op-ed piece in the Detroit News:

There's an old joke that if someone says "We're from the federal government, and we're here to help," you should run for the hills. But in this case, I believe there is a constructive role for the federal government to play.

Careful, Senator. That’s close to blasphemy.

Bad Idea

The biggest Union-associated costs bogging down GM right now are pensions and healthcare costs. Therefore, Sen. Bob Corker wants to slash union wages and unemployment benefits? Swing and a miss, Senator.

PS: That plan is especially bad when we’re desperate to stimulate the economy.


Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), trying to explain why an auto industry bailout will lead to widespread violence (!), says, “There are already people rioting because they’re losing their jobs when everybody else is being bailed out.”

Um, what? Where?

Sorry, Senator, I call FAIL. Maybe you should leave the fear-mongering to Fox News.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Silence Isn't Golden

The TNGOP has some nice things to say about the state’s Democratic Party in today’s press release:

The new Republican majority in the state legislature will most certainly be challenged in 2010 by a well-funded, aggressive effort by the Tennessee Democrat Party - indeed, they are already regrouping for that purpose.

I hope they’re right, but so far the evidence is lacking. We’re at 42 days without a press release, and only one blog entry since the election – which was more than a month ago.

Nothing going on in the world you guys want to talk about? Nothing at all?

I Did Not Know That

This is kind of nifty:

U.S. Rep. John Tanner (D-TN-8) is now the incoming President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the legislative arm of the NATO Alliance, comprised of legislators from all 26 member nations. Tanner was elected President at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s annual meeting in Valencia, Spain.

Faith Hill for First Lady

The Golden Girl has been warning us for years… and now the New Republic says it could come true:

Tim McGraw is seriously considering a run at the governor’s mansion in 2010. He's been floating the idea for a few years now, but with the recent thrashing of lawyer Bob Tuke by Lamar Alexander in last month’s senate race, Tennessee Dems have been casting about desperately for a high-profile Democrat not named Harold Ford to take on Bill Frist, who is almost certainly going to run. And they could do a lot worse, I suppose, than the Indian Outlaw. Which is saying something.

Getting the Axe

A quick look at all the TV series that have already been cancelled this fall:


"Dirty Sexy Money"
"Eli Stone"
"Opportunity Knocks"
"Pushing Daisies"


"The Ex List"

The CW

"Easy Money"
"In Harm's Way"


"Do Not Disturb"


"My Own Worst Enemy"
"Lipstick Jungle"
"Knight Rider"

And I’m not sorry to see a single one of these go. Maybe NBC was smart to abandon new programming.

The Next Cindy Sheehan?

I remember the early days of Cindy Sheehan, when Democrats were happy to hand her a microphone so she could harass President Bush outside his Crawford Ranch about the Iraq War. Gosh, that was fun.

But as soon as I heard her mention Israel, I thought, “Oh crap. Here it comes.” Since then, Cindy’s been hanging out with Hugo Chavez and threatening to run for Congress against Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi because they’re not Left-wing enough.

So I had to laugh when I saw this headline on FOXNews.com on election eve:

Joe the Plumber: Obama will bring "death to Israel"

“Here it comes,” I thought. And Joe hasn’t disappointed. From his flirtation with a country music career to grumbling about running for Congress, Joe has transformed from political symbol to pop culture diva.

And now it gets even better. Joe’s attacking John McCain, saying he felt “dirty” campaigning for the guy. Joe says McCain’s policies “appalled me, absolutely. I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.”

That’s gratitude for ya.

But Joe still loves Sarah Palin. “Palin is absolutely the real deal,” he said. Yes, she is, Joe. And I hope the Republican Party embraces the two of you as tight as it can.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I still don’t understand how a president-elect has a job approval rating, but CNN reports that Obama is kicking ass:

“An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent -- that's the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster," said Bill Schneider, CNN's senior political analyst. "To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster."

Sic 'em, Obama!

Looks like it was the Obama team that busted Blagojevich. According to the Huffington Post:

Local news reports, meanwhile, suggest that it was Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel who blew the whistle on the governor.


New at the zoo in Nepal. Elephants rarely have twins because the babies are so darn big.

Jay in Primetime

Wow – NBC just announced it’s moving Jay Leno to primetime, five nights a week. He’ll air at 9:00 pm (Central). Conan O’Brien is getting the 10:30 spot, which will still be called the Tonight Show. And Jimmy Fallon is getting the 11:30 spot for Late Night.

No word yet what Leno’s new show will be called.

NBC has been a ratings disaster for the late few years, and this strategy seems to signal complete surrender. “Forget new programming; we suck at it,” is the message here. “We’re not even going to try anymore.”

NBC may have given up on being #1 – but are they crazy, or crazy like a fox? Producing one nightly talk show will be a hell of a lot cheaper than five weekly dramas or news magazine-style shows, no matter how big Leno’s paycheck is. So Leno’s new show won’t need huge ratings to rake in the cash.

So maybe the real message is this: “It’s okay to suck as long as you make a ton of money at it.”

Rot in Jail

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's job creation plan apparently was limited to three people: two cushy six-figure jobs for himself and his wife, and a seat in the US Senate for whoever was willing to provide them.

Sorry, Gov. Go to fail. Go directly to fail. On the bright side, it's kind of nice to know a governor who tries this crap will in fact get caught.

Fun fact: This makes two Illinois governors in a row to wind up behind bars. The last one, at least, was a Republican.

Monday, December 8, 2008

If We're Really Quiet, Maybe No One Will Know We're Here

The Tennessee Democratic Party did not issue a single press release in the month of November.

(The TNGOP issued 8, including its weekly reports.)

Lamar Alexander = Marxist

“I’m from the federal government, and I’m here to help.”

These are supposed to be the scariest words in the English language, according to Reagan-worshipping Republicans. A quick look at Sen. Lamar Alexander’s website, however, tells a different story. Here are his three most recent press releases:

December 5, 2008 - Alexander, Corker Announce $63,500 to Johnson County for Appalachian Sustainable Energy & Agriculture Project

November 26, 2008 - Alexander, Corker Announce More Than $20 Million for Tennessee [in disaster assistance]

November 20, 2008 - Alexander Votes to Extend Unemployment Benefits for Tennesseans

Of course, I applaud Sen. Alexander for all these things. I’m glad the federal government is here to help Tennessee farmers, disaster victims, and the unemployed. I’m proud of him for putting policy above platitudes.

This is what good government looks like. Republicans would do well to remember that.

And You’re Bragging about That??

"If not for Chip," [Tenn. Lt. Gov. Ron] Ramsey said, "Al Gore would have been elected president but instead Tennessee went for George W. Bush in 2000."

Ramsey apparently thinks that’s a great reason to put Chip Saltsman in charge of the national Republican Party. Because that Bush thing turned out so well.

Saltsman may well be the GOP’s most formidable choice for chairman, but delivering us into the hands of GWB is probably not his best selling point.

Fred Cashes in on Obama

From the New York Post's gossip page:

Fred Thompson ... the ex-Republican presidential candidate and part-time actor ... is offering to rent his luxury one-bedroom condo in Washington, DC, for five days. The price: $30,000. "It has a balcony overlooking the inaugural parade route, the Navy Memorial and the US Capitol, and comes with a reserved parking space," said our insider.

Close Enough for Government Work

Brilliant headline from the Knoxville News-Sentinel:

FDIC to ensure bank debt

Um, don’t you mean insure bank debt?

Puppy Power

These little puppies saved a three-year-old boy’s life by snuggling up against him while he slept outdoors overnight in 17 degree weather. The child was missing 21 hours after wandering into the woods near his home in Halifax County, Virginia.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Corker & The Big Three

I’ve got to say Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) is right on the money when he sums up the situation for Chrysler and Ford.

He says Chrysler just wants a little spending money to stay afloat until it can sell itself off to the highest bidder:

"The fact is basically what your plan is about is that you want to hang around long enough so that you can date somebody and hopefully get married soon before you run out of money," Corker said.


He told Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally, whose company is not in immediate danger of collapse, that he was just there because Chrysler and GM were asking for help.

As for GM, Sen. Corker has some good ideas and bad.

He gave GM a laundry list of solutions to it’s problems, including offering its debtors 30 cents on the dollar, which is more than they’re getting in the debt reselling market right now. Plus, Corker wants the UAW to cut GM some slack on retiree healthcare payments and unemployment payments above and beyond what the government gives laid off workers.

Well, GM should try to buy back its own debt for pennies on the dollar if it can, and that’s not a bad use for a government bailout check, if it gets one.

Here’s where Corker goes wrong. In this economy, the last thing you want to do is take money out of the hands of consumers, even (or especially) unemployed ones. For one, they’re buying necessities, not frivolities. And for two, we want to encourage all the spending we can.

The second-to-last thing you want to do is take healthcare away from retirees. Either the government is going to end up paying for it, or they’re going to have to go without. Neither is a good thing. And the ones that go without are likely to get sick and cost the government a whole long more money in the long run away.

So that’s two more good things to do with a government bailout check.

I’ve been on the fence on the whole auto industry rescue thing, but Sen. Corker now has me leaning towards a bailout for GM at least. The other two… not so much. Ford says they’re not going to declare bankruptcy either way, so if they’re not even at risk of bankruptcy why the hell do they need bailout? Chrysler’s a goner anyway. Would a bailout help them find a buyer or only give them longer to put it off?

Sarah Palin: Freeloader-in-Chief

$180K in clothes? That was just the beginning.

Also on the dime of the GOP’s generous donors… Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s fashion stylist was paid $54,900 by the Republican National Committee.

McCain campaign donors got hosed, too, and so did the taxpayers (the campaign accepted public matching funds, remember?)… Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist was paid $68,400 and her hair stylist received more than $42,000 for roughly two months of work.

Clothes: $180,000
Stylist: +$54,900
Make-Up: +$68,400
Hair Stylist: +$42,000
Total: $245,300

An Obama victory: Priceless.

Bush: Grass Green, Water Wet

Actual headline from the AP - Bush: Iraq war longer, more costly than expected

Thanks for the update, Mr. President.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Write or Wrong

Barack Obama wants you to: Learn what you can do now to support President-elect Obama's agenda for change and continue to make a difference in your community.

Take the first important step by hosting or attending a Change is Coming house meeting. Sign up right now:


Looks like he’s serious about keeping up the emails.


Dear Republicans,

Next time the RNC asks you for money, please keep this in mind!


Job Obituaries

The Tennessean laid off 67 people today, including 25 in the newsroom. Another 25 empty positions will go unfilled. (The Knoxville News-Sentinel recently got rid of 50 people.)

HCA is laying off at least a 100 people in IT, plus an unclosed number on top of that.

No word how many of the 12,000 people getting the axe at AT&T will be in Tennessee.

AbitibiBowater is shutting down a paper mill in Tennessee as it lays off 1,100 people in the US and Canada.

Thomas Nelson, a book publisher in Nashville, just laid off 55 people.

Bridgestone Firestone will lay off at least 158 people in LaVergne.

On the other hand, the US Census Bureau is hiring 1,000 people at its new office in Knoxville. It’s good news for sure, although these positions will go away once the 2010 census is complete.

Just Be Sure to Get My Good Side

Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper says it’s perfectly okay for police departments in Tennessee to use traffic cameras to issue tickets so long as the ticket comes from an actual police officer. (In other states, the tickets typically come from a private company paid to set up and monitor the cameras.)

Sounds about right to me.

I don’t like those cameras – and I don’t want them in Tennessee – but legally speaking, yeah. Get an actual cop to review each photo and make an individual determination each time if it looks like the law has been broken. If the driver disagrees, okay, they get their day in court, just like any other ticket.

I know it costs a lot more to make a police officer review each alleged violation individually, but so what? It’s still a lot cheaper and quicker than having a police officer sitting around on the scene waiting for violators.

Affording College in Tennessee

Okay, sure, we got an F. But it was a high F.

Slightly paraphrased from the LA Times:

Only two states, New York and Tennessee, have made it cheaper in recent years to afford higher education, the report found. But their improvement was so slight, they joined 47 other states in scoring an F for affordability.

California was the only non-F. But the state's "C" grade was somewhat misleading, however, as it reflected bargain-basement sticker prices at the state's two-year colleges.

The grades were issued by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

Hullo, CHaP

Okay, what if you had a little power generator at your home or business that provided electricity, and the heat given off by that generator was captured and used to heat the building?

It’s called Combined Heat and Power (CHP), and the big brains over at Oak Ridge National Laboratory think we should use a lot more of it.

If the U.S. started getting 20% of our electricity from CHP technologies by 2030, that would eliminate 60% of our projected increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

Some countries over in Europe already get 20% of their electricity from CHP sources, but some countries in Europe are roughly the size of Rutherford County so I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison. By the way, CHP technologies have been around about a 100 years.

Down the Road

What’s missing from this billboard?

There’s the candidate’s name – but what’s he running for?

Presumably, these ads are promoting Rep. Wamp for re-election to Congress. In reality, of course, they’re all about the governor’s race in 2010. A dead giveaway is that they appear far outside Wamp’s actual congressional district.

I saw a ton of these all over East Tennessee while travelling for the Thanksgiving holiday. Were these billboards paid for by Wamp’s congressional campaign?

If so, I suspect they technically follow the letter of the law if not the spirit. After all, Wamp isn’t an official candidate for governor yet and shouldn’t be raising or spending money on his gubernatorial campaign already.

Wamp wants to make it official in January, if only Bill Frist would hurry up and announce one way or the other. Since Wamp doesn’t have Frist’s star power, he needs to start campaigning now.

My prediction: Frist is in, and no big-name Republican or Democrat has the guts to run against him.

Smoking Up 8% (More Bad News in List Form)

You’ve got to be able to count to four to reach Tennessee on this year’s list of the least healthy states, according to the United Health Foundation.

1. South Carolina
2. Mississippi
3. Louisiana
4. Tennessee

We were number five last year. Quoth the Tennessean:

Research shows Tennessee's consistent spot in the bottom is directly related to the state's high rate of obesity, violent crime and what researchers say is the single-most important factor: prevalence of smoking, which increased by 8 percent over last year.

Seriously? We triple our cigarette taxes and smoking shoots up 8% in the same year?

Today's Bad News Is Brought to You by the Number Three

And the top three states for the biggest fall-off in tax revenues thanks to economic disaster that President Bush is leaving behind…

1. Florida
2. Arizona
3. Tennessee

Projections of this year’s state budget deficit are now reaching $1 billion.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Try, Try Again

Why are Republicans so excited about Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s victory yesterday? Drudge calls it the “Republicans Strike Back.” Ha! He’s an incumbent Republican in Georgia! The fact that it took him two tries to hit 50% is an embarrassment, not a victory.

Closest Thing to a Real Live Muppet

For just 9 cents a day, you can adopt a fuzzy little koala like this guy:

No, you don't get to bring him home and let him eat eucalyptus leaves out of your hand. Instead you pay your $32 a year to The Koala Hospital, where they fix him up and send him back out into the wild.

Is This Sexist?

Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) said he liked Janet Napolitano for Secretary of Homeland Security because:

Janet's perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it.

It was an off-the-cuff remark when he didn’t know his mic was on, and CNN’s Campbell Brown is playing it up as a sexist gaffe.

Yes, it plays into a sexist stereotype that a woman with a family isn’t as hardworking as single woman or a man with a family. And yes, that stereotype is real, common, and serious.

But I don’t think that’s what Gov. Rendell was saying here. In fact, I think he would have said the same thing about a man:

"He's perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. He has no family. Perfect. He can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it."

That doesn’t sound strange or unlikely to me at all.

It’s the old trap of saying something innocuous about a specific person without thinking about how those same words can be (or have been) used by others to deride or dismiss entire groups. It's kind of like calling a politician "articulate" without thinking about the fact that he's black and so that word has some baggage. Ask Joe Biden.

My verdict: This is more of a "dude, that was stupid," rather than "dude, that was shameful," kind of thing. It’s a good example of how people unwittingly say things that play into stereotypes. These things should be pointed out so people recognize and reevaluate their own attitudes and word choices, witting or unwitting.

But gaffe? Nah.

PS: Campbell Brown points out that no one said Tom Ridge or Michael Chertoff were bad picks because they have families, but I also find it hard to believe that if Napolitano had kids Gov. Rendell would have said, "ugh, she's a terrible pick because she has a family." That's a huge leap to make, even if they're separated just by one link in the chain of logic.

Senator Bush?

Brother Jeb is looking to run in Florida now that Sen. Mel Martinez has announced his retirement. That’s bad news for Democrats. With Martinez in the race, Florida was the #1 most likely take-over for the Democrats. With Bush, I’d say it leans Republican.

Trivia: The name “Jeb” comes from his initials – John Ellis Bush.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Robert Gates - the Handbreak on Bush's Handbasket to Hell

If Obama is a complete reversal of Bush’s policies, but Bush had already started to reverse himself a little bit, does that make Obama just more of the same? Hogwash. Complete garbage.

Still, that’s why David Brooks tries to argue in the New York Times today.

Brooks claims that President George W. Bush (learning from the unmitigated disaster of Iraq from 2003-2006) launched a new, holistic approach to foreign policy under Sec. of Defense Robert Gates. And Brooks goes on to praise President-elect Obama for following in Bush’s recent footsteps.

Bringing in Gates as Secretary of Defense was an important step towards replacing recklessness with common sense; I’ll give Bush that. But to pretend that a holistic approach to foreign policy is somehow a Bush invention is preposterous.

Alleviating global poverty, strengthening the rule of law, and stabilizing peaceful governments has been a vital part of US foreign policy since World War II. Only Bush was stupid enough to think it could be accomplished by the military alone.

Gates was never that stupid. He was never a neo-con. He doesn’t represent Bush’s governing philosophy or foreign policy; he’s a repudiation of it. Gates comes from outside Bush’s circle – not just his circle of people but his circle of thought.

Gates represents “continuity,” Brooks claims? Ha. At best, Gates represents that even Bush knew his own political ideology led to total failure.

You Can’t Fire Me - I Quit!

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) is so ridiculously unpopular that he’s ready to quit his job. The idea that he could win re-election in 2010 is a joke, so apparently Martinez is going to be beat voters to the punch. He’ll resign now so that Republican Governor Charlie Crist can appoint a replacement to run as an incumbent in 2010.

Remember, Martinez is the same guy Bush named as head of the Republican Party but got the boot after only 10 months at the job. Heck of a job, Marty!

Update: During the official announcement today, Martinez made no mention of leaving office early – only that he won’t seek re-election. We’ll have to wait and see if that was just a baseless rumor or a trial balloon.

You Say You'll Change the Constitution, Well, You Know...

The states want federal money to put people to work on roads, school repairs, and other infrastructure projects. Too bad the federal government is broke too. The difference is, most states are constitutionally required to have a balanced budget (Tennessee included) while the federal government can spend, spend, spend endlessly on credit.

The GOP used to demand a Constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. It was one of many things I agreed with them on. Whatever happened to that? Deficit spending should require a two-thirds vote in Congress. That way we can do it in times of desperation, like now, but not just on the whim of an idiot president.

I Hear Knoxville Is a Lot Like Oakland

Welcome to Tennessee, Coach Kiffen! I, for one, am thrilled to have you. I think you’re a great choice. Now learn the rules, moron.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Whose Fault Is This?

Growing up in Memphis, I was always told it was just a matter of time before an earthquake wiped the city off the map. Well, it looks like the ground is moving under Arkansas, with five minor earthquakes reported in the past month. Hopefully the big one will wait at least long enough for President Obama to take over so we don’t have President Bush’s FEMA in charge of the recovery.

Good News, Everybody!

David Yepsen reminds everyone:

A Gallup poll taken after the November election and released last week showed "the Republican Party's image has gone from bad to worse" since the election. Only 34 percent of Americans say they have a favorable view of the party, and 61 percent view it unfavorably - the worst image rating in a decade.

By contrast, 55 percent view the Democratic Party with favor, and only 39 percent look upon that party unfavorably.